6.1.1 Reduction of Dependences

Families who had no or a limited access to land as their basis of livelihood in the rural society were dependent on those who controlled resources. If the landlord leasing some land, the employer offering wage labour to the landless, a family member and a moneylender are one and the same person, multiple dependence is particularly conspicuous.

In most countries, such dependences still exist, but it is evident that a number of developments reduced them to a certain extent.

Today, landlords take care not to exploit and oppress too much their tenants and labourers in order not to call for more discussions than is necessary. Multiple dependence, especially, is less frequent nowadays because formal credit sources are more often available. Mass media provided information to every village, thus limiting the landlords' arbitrary actions, and the laws being increasingly enforced also served the same purpose.

Besides, the transition from traditional labour relations involving mutual obligation and a feeling of responsibility - however small - to mere contract relations often meant a loss of security in contrast to a loss of the basic existence. Moreover, as far as qualifications are concerned, those who had specific skills (e.g., tractor drivers) experience that these make the landlord dependent upon them and give them freedom and security.

While dependences and despotism have probably been generally reduced in Asia , great differences exist from country to country and from region to region. The countries in which land reform is strictly enforced progressed most, while in typical landlord regions, change still has to occur. The prevailing situation is far from being ideal.